We live in the city of Chicago, and many of you probably know that we are in the midst of a teachers’ strike at the moment. My kids go to our wonderful neighborhood elementary school, made wonderful in part because of the awesome parent community. We have known that there might be a strike coming, though I think many of us were hoping it would be avoided. One of the neighborhood moms – who lived through a teachers’ strike herself as a child – invited about 12 neighborhood families with kids ages 5-7 to form a “co-op” at her house in the event of a strike. A couple of these families include current or former elementary school teachers who helped with a schedule and materials, and so my kids are going to a “strike school” at our neighbors’ house. The parents are rotating to cover days and keep 14 kids in a school-like routine.
I “taught” yesterday and, yes, I am attempting to hook the next generation into the fiber arts…. I brought lots of leftover yarn, bits of roving, a couple spindles, and my small cricket loom warped and ready to go. We started story time with Extra Yarn and The Cloud Spinner. At the park a little later, I distracted an injured child with my spindle – and then I was surrounded by a bunch of kids asking what I was doing. They collected sticks and I taught them how to make yarn by adding twist to the sheep hair. We also talked about the importance of yarn. If there was no yarn, after all, there would be no clothes, and everyone would be walking around naked! 🙂
After lunch we split the kids into two groups and they took turns digging through my bag of leftover yarn and weaving on the cricket. I also showed them how to incorporate bits of fiber (“fluff”) into the weaving. We also cut up construction paper to weave together to reinforce the concept of what weaving is. There were a couple of girls so into the weaving that they stayed inside to do more after everyone else went outside to play.
The same family has been hosting our strike school all week, so at the end of the day I wove some of the spinning sticks into the top and bottom of the weaving that the kids made and gave it to her. Anyway, it was all great fun. And now I know that if neither of my kids are into crafty stuff, I can always borrow a few neighborhood kids.